Julia Nelmark Chief Executive Officer
As the CEO for White Earth Investment Initiative, Julia Nelmark is responsible for administration of all corporate lending activities. She also serves as president of Midwest Minnesota Community Development Corporation (MMCDC) and previously served as the Director, New Markets Tax Credit Program. Originally from Illinois, Ms. Nelmark received her bachelor’s degree from Benedictine University, where she was Accounting Major of the Year. She received her CPA certification and went on to receive a master’s of management degree from Kellogg Graduate School of Business at Northwestern University. Contact Information 119 Graystone Plaza Suite 100 Detroit Lakes, MN 56501 Phone: (218) 847-3191 Fax: (218) 847-3192 Email Julia Nelmark
Audra Tonihka Vice President of Lending, NMLS #1492850
Audra Tonihka implements the commercial, residential and consumer Lending programs and manages the business Incubator for White Earth Investment Initiative. She is an enrolled tribal member who grew up in the community of White Earth and received a bachelor’s degree in business management from the University of Minnesota-Morris. Prior to joining the White Earth Investment Initiative staff, Tonihka served as a loan officer for the tribal credit union. She was also named by Finance & Commerce magazine to its list of Minnesota’s Top Women in Finance of 2016. Contact Information 407 Main Street E P.O. Box 38 Ogema, MN 56569-0038 Phone: (218) 983-6021 Fax: (218) 983-4021 Email Audra Tonihka
Heather Anderson Lending Assistant
As Lending Assistant for White Earth Investment Initiative, Heather Anderson is responsible for the organization’s consumer lending portfolio. Anderson meets with potential consumer borrowers to determine their needs, assists with applications, gathers required documentation, and generates loan closing documents. Prior to joining the White Earth Investment Initiative staff, Anderson served as Personal Banker at her family’s local bank and as Staff Accountant for the Shooting Star Casino and Event Center. Anderson has a degree in Finance from Minnesota State University Moorhead, and lives with her husband and children near Mahnomen, MN. Contact Information 407 Main Street E P.O. Box 38 Ogema, MN 56569-0038 Phone: (218) 983-4020 Fax: (218) 983-4021 Email Heather Anderson
Gavin Schmidt VITA Program Assistant
Gavin Schmidt, VITA Program Assistant, aides in the management of the White Earth Tax Site (a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) site). Gavin prepares tax returns, assists in the management of volunteers, and ensures compliance with IRS requirements. Gavin has a degree in Accounting from the University of Minnesota-Crookston, and has previously held positions at the Shooting Star Casino and Event Center, including the position of Staff Accountant.
Sue Trnka Community Services Coordinator
Sue Trnka leads homebuyer education classes, meets individually with potential homebuyers and oversees operation of the White Earth Tax Site. She has a history of community leadership and involvement, including serving as Mayor of the City of Waubun. After participating in the Honors Studies program at the University of North Dakota, she graduated form the University of Phoenix, Online Campus, with a bachelor of science in management. Contact Information 119 Graystone Plaza Suite 100 Detroit Lakes, MN 56501 Phone: (218) 844-7029 Fax: (218) 847-3192 Email Sue Trnka
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Four of White Earth Investment Initiative’s board members also are members of the White Earth Band of Ojibwe.
Dr. Arlen Kangas Board Chairman
Dr. Kangas is the retired president of MMCDC. Under his leadership, the company’s asset base has grown from $2 million to more than $60 million. During the same period, the company’s revenues increased from less than $500,000 per year to more than $6.6 million. Dr. Kangas received a bachelor’s degree in economics in 1978, graduating Summa Cum Laude from Bemidji State University. He then received his master’s degree and a doctorate from Washington State University in Pullman, Washington.
Dan Stevens Board Member
Stevens has been active in the community development field for years as a board member for MMCDC. He is accustomed to linking financial and technical resources to individual businesses and communities in need, and also understands the needs of the Reservation. He is an enrolled tribal member and a Reservation community resident.
Dean Johnson Board Member
Johnson served as the first-ever economic development director for the White Earth Reservation Tribal Government. Prior to assuming that position in 2007, Johnson served as the longtime administrator for Mahnomen, Minn., the reservation’s largest community. He is retired.
Doug Fabre Board Member
Doug Fabre is an enrolled member of the White Earth Band of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe and a longtime resident of the Reservation community. He worked for Qwest telephone company and a tribally owned building supply company, of which he later served on the board of directors following retirement. He is a veteran and active in the VFW Club.
Jessica Tolifson Board Member
Jessica Tolifson is an enrolled tribal member and lifelong resident of the White Earth Reservation. She has an accounting degree and works for the White Earth RBC Natural Resources division. She was formerly employed by White Earth Business Products and White Earth Enterprises. All are tribal entities.